Central in $1bn venture to buy Swiss mall

Central in $1bn venture to buy Swiss mall

Globus is 'perfect fit', says executive

The Globus Zurich store in Bahnhofstrasse, Switzerland. (Photo supplied by Globus)
The Globus Zurich store in Bahnhofstrasse, Switzerland. (Photo supplied by Globus)

Central Group said on Tuesday it is buying Swiss luxury department store Globus and other real estate assets in a joint venture with Austria's Signa for more than 1 billion Swiss francs (32 billion baht or $1.03 billion).

The purchase of Globus and the real estate from Migros-Genossenschafts-Bund (MGB) is the latest expansion for Central Group, owned by the billionaire Chirathivat family, in European luxury malls.

"The transaction includes the purchase of prime Swiss properties and a hotel, with a value of over 1 billion Swiss francs”, Central Group executive chairman Tos Chirathivat said.

Central Group jointly owns Germany's KaDeWe Group, Italy’s Rinascente and Denmark’s Illum with Signa.

Reuters in October reported Austrian investor Rene Benko's Signa was likely to submit an offer for Globus.

"As a historical Swiss brand, Globus is a perfect fit for our European alliance with strong local presence and international recognition," said Central Group Europe chief executive officer Vittorio Radice, who will assume leadership of Globus.

The deal is subject to approval from European competition authorities and is expected to close in mid-2020.

Earlier, the Sonntagszeitung newspaper reported the retailer’s properties account for the majority of the assets and include a store on Zurich’s main street, Bahnhofstrasse.

The Thai and Austrian investors will each hold a 50% stake, it said. The portfolio of Mr Benko’s Signa Holding GmbH already includes Germany’s well-known Galeria Kaufhof.

Switzerland’s Migros-Genossenschafts-Bund announced plans to sell Globus last year. Retailers across Europe are coming under pressure as online sellers gain market share at the expense of bricks-and-mortar shops.

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